HSE concludes further enforcement action against Beamish Museum 'not in public interest' after death of Darlington boy Karl Doran

PRINCE OF STEAM: Karl Doran

PRINCE OF STEAM: Karl Doran

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

NO further enforcement action will be taken against an open-air museum, following the completion of an investigation into the circumstances of a seven-year-old boy’s death.

Karl Doran, from Darlington, died at Beamish Museum, near Stanley, County Durham, in July 2012.

He fell from the rear of a steam traction engine and was fatally injured after being struck by the 1.5-tonne trailer it was towing.

Karl’s father, Phillip, was driving the traction engine.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the circumstances of Karl’s death, in conjunction with Durham Police.

Although the police strand of the investigation has long since been completed, the HSE has taken until now to publish its conclusion.

HSE principal inspector Chris Gillies said on Monday (January 20) that no further action would be taken.

An improvement notice had earlier been served on Beamish, which required it to assess the risks to people using steam traction engines on site and ensure those risks were communicated to anyone using them.

Mr Gillies, who led the investigation, said the HSE was satisfied that the risks from the use of steam traction engines at Beamish were now properly controlled.

He concluded that it would not be in the public interest to take further enforcement action against the museum.

The HSE said it plans to work with Beamish and other similar organisations to ensure other operators of steam traction engines are aware of the risks and the measures necessary to control those risks, particularly when children are being carried.

Karl was a steam engine enthusiast and regularly volunteered at Beamish with his father.

An inquest into Karl’s death, held in December last year, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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